Questions & Answers
This section of the site has questions sent in by readers via the guestbook, and the answers which may help
others who may have wondered the same thing.
PLEASE NOTE: Private Messages will be treated as PRIVATE. If you ask a question via a private message and do not provide an email address for me to respond, your question will not be answered. It is not possible for me to guess, if you want your question published publicly or not, and for that reason NO PRIVATE MESSAGES WILL BE PUBLISHED AND/OR ANSWERED IN THIS SECTION.
****NEWS**** 7th January 2011 - Hubby and I are awaiting the arrival of our first child any day now. There will be no monitoring of messages or answering of questions for the next few months.
****NEWS**** 20th January 2011 - Our gorgeous daughter Lani Dhara arrived on the 10th of January 2011. We are enjoying every minute of being new parents. Thank you for your good wishes.
18 December 2010
Also how on earth did u make such cute and neat smurfs? I mean whats the technique?? Please please please:)
Hi again Amber
The smurfs were done by printing pictures of the smurfs and using those pictures as templates. You cut them out, and then use them as a guide to cut the faces, hats etc :)
18 December 2010
First let me say thank you soooo much...Not many people in this world are ready to share their knowledge and skills with anyone and you are one of the very few...Thanks alot:)
I am a new decorator and on my way to the first coach purse cake for a friend's bridal shower..The only thing i am concerned about is how to do the caoch logo "C" on the bag? where to find the font and then how to put it on cake..I will be using fondant for the whole cake.
Also how big a cake your chocolate mud recipe yields? Serves how many?
Again love yr page and all the things on it.
The mudcake recipe is for an 8 inch tin. I would suggest to add a little tylose to the fondant in order to make your C, so that it will be easier to handle. Just knead in a little, let it rest for a half hour or so, and then use it. It will be more flexible. Alternatively, use gumpaste for it.
I am not sure what font you want to use for the purse, I would suggest doing a search on google, when you find what you want, print it out and use the printout as your template for cutting your gumpaste or fondant.
1 December 2010
I need to make a gift box cake, and I was wondering how exactly I should make it. I want the "lid" to appear as if it's separate, but I don't know how to get this effect. Can you provide any tips? Also, are there any tutorials you have on making a bow. I really like the bow you made on the Tiffany gift box cake. I've been looking everywhere, but can't find anything. Can you also provide some tips as to how to make the bow?
I have never made a gift box with a separate lid before, so I can't help with that query. The bow for my Tiffany cake was made using instructions put together by my friend Fran McGregor.
You can find them here
19 November 2010
What is better ganche or buttercream? i see that you use alot of ganache.
Neither is better really, each one is good for particular uses. If you want to get a nice finish on your cake when you are going to be using fondant, I personally think that ganache is better as you can get sharper edges and a firmer base for your fondant. For cupcakes French buttercream tastes best. At the end of the day it all goes to personal taste, what the customer wants and what finish you want to achieve. I only use ganache for fondant cakes.
7 November 2010
Aireen Doodson (Brisbane)
Hi, I'm new to cake decorating and I found you site on google and thought how wonderful your creations are. I have been ask to make a wedding cake for a freind of ours and I was wondering with the ganache white chocolate recipe how much will I need to cover an 11" cake, 8" cake and 6"cake all cakes are 4 inches high and also do you put ganache in between the 2 cakes.
Unfortunately I never made enough cakes to have a good idea of how much ganache to use at any particular time. I pretty much just winged it for every cake, and always ended up with too little or too much, but because I gave myself time to make the cake, it always meant that I could make extra if required. If I had left overs, I used it for making cake truffles or other desserts.
I always filled my cakes with ganache also.
28 October 2010
Natalia, how did you make the teacup turvy cake?
Thank you. Your tutorial would be really appreciated.
I am unable to do tutorials on request, however I had a lot of small clips left over from when I did the cake, so here are some tips
28 October 2010
I love your website!! Thank you for being so kind and shering your talent and experience with us.
I'm going to make a bowling ball cake. What's the best way to carve a ball cake and cover it with fondant? Thank you!!!
If you're going to carve it, then you will need a really dense cake to begin with. Otherwise you can use the Wilton ball pan, which seems to work well. I have only used it once though :)
20 October 2010
Hi Nat I love all the cakes you have on facebook they are amazing. I am very new to cake decorating but I was wondering with adding raspberry coulis or caramel to the cake do you have to put the cake in the fridge after you ganache? And also when you talk about white chocolate raspberry ganache do you just mix raspberry coulis to your ganache. Thank you so much again for sharing your cakes they great and inspiring.
I don't actually mix the coulis with the ganache, I keep them separate. This is how I do it : )
I pipe circles of ganache, which is quite firm and then fill in the gaps with coulis. Have a look at the picture below. You can do this with coulis of any flavour or caramel, and keep the ganache and other filling quite separate from eachother. It's yum!!
20 October 2010
Natalia, Hello again! As always, thanks for your site and the info you provide! Have you done a football cake? Can you direct me to some images of them? I need ideas for a creative, recognizable football cake to feed my son's team for Homecoming - 23 boys! Thanks again!
I have only made one football cake, it was an Aussie Rules football, so I don't think a picture will help you much. I used the Wilton football pan, I actually had two, baked two cakes, stuck them together and carved them a little, as the Aussie Rules footy ball is a little different to the American style one. But having the pan really helped a lot.
16 October 2010
Thank you Natalia for posting your tutorials! Can you tell me if you freeze your cakes before sculpting them? Do you let them thaw entirely before the carving process?
I normally freeze all my mudcakes, but thaw them out completely before I start carving/sculpting.
13 October 2010
Can I use fondant to make a shoe instead of gumpaste? Wonderful site. Thanks
I wouldn't recommend using just fondant. It will be too soft to work with, and the sole of the shoe is likely to break if not when you're making it, then when you try to move it to put it on your cake.
Making modelling paste or gumpaste is quite easy, you can use the fondant you have an just add a few ingredients. I use this recipe all the time, for figurines and flowers. Good luck!!!
5 October 2010
I have been a fan of yours for some time now and am about to attempt to make a Mad Hatter cake for my sons christening. I love your two tiered mermaid cake. Can you let me know how many people this would be for as I am making one for 100 people and what size pans you used. Also how many times shall I use the dark chocolate mud cake recipe to make a cake like this? Many thanks in advance for your help Nat - you continue to inspire us new comers to this cake making!!
That cake served approximately 45. You can probably make it the same size and then have a serving cake in the kitchen. The sizes (from memory) were 7 and 10 inch. The recipe I have on the website is for an 8 inch cake tin, not sure how many times you have to multiply it by, I haven't baked any cakes for so long, I am really rusty ;)
6 September 2010
Hi there Natalia,
I like the look of your chocolate mud cake recipe. I am making my mom's 70th birthday cake this week and I want to use this recipe. I am planning on using square tiers, 10, 6, 4 inch cakes with a white chocolate raspberry ganache between the layers. Would you be able to tell me the size of cakes that your recipe is good for. I plan on making 2 cakes of each size for the tiers.
The recipe is for an 8 inch round.
21 August 2010
I am making a spiderman cake for my son's 3rd birthday, and came across your amazing mad hatter spiderman cake. I would like to do a take on that - using the fondant stripes and spiderman face; I'm not quite ready for the mad hatter concept! I saw your tutorial for striped fondant and will give that a try. Can I use buttercream for the crumb coat before applying the fondant - you mention ganache - and does the cake need to be heavier than a standard box cake mix? Also, how did you make the spiderman face, is that fondant? I feel fortunate to have run across your website and pictures; I'm sorry you're not doing cake anymore - they are tremendous! Many thanks, Melodie
I can't advice you on the texture of your cake, as I only bake from scratch. Mud cakes are a lot heavier in texture than other cakes. If you're just going to make a tiered cake, then this shouldn't be an issue that you need to worry about, just as long as the cake you're using, is good enough to stack. In regards to the buttercream, I don't think you can get the same result as you do with ganache. Ganache not only gives you a smooth surface, but a surface which is firm, which means you can get the stripes very close toghether and then you can appy pressure on the cake to smooth the stripes onto eachother.
The spiderman face on the madhatter is made with fondant. It was just squeezed to shape, and smoothed over. The eyes were also fondant, and the stripes were piped on.
31 July 2010
Please help. My daughter wants to make the Lightening McQueen car cake for her son's birthday however we don't want to add the whiskey as the children are only 4 years old. What could we use instead. It looks like an American recipe which is unfamiliar to us, it it like a medeira cake when finished or a victoria sponge?
Could you please assist us. Thank you
Toni, this website is Australian : )
You can replace the whiskey with water, but please note that the flavour will be just slightly different. This cake is extremely rich and heavy, which makes it perfect for carving. It is heavier than a madeira cake.
27 July 2010
I'm new to baking. I do it for funn and as a stress release. But I still want to be good at it.How do you smooth out buttercream icing?
I am by no means an expert in buttercream, I hardly ever use it, my cakes for the last few years have all been done in fondant or chocolate. So by no means am I equipped to give advice. However I have a net friend who is indeed THE QUEEN of buttercream. If you want to improve and perfect your buttercream skills, I recommend you buy this video, it's worth every cent, I have seen the results of people that have used it and the cakes turn out AMAZING!!!
20 July 2010
i would like to try the ur pink shoe, it looks wonderfull,would u have the dimension to the template,and my other question is when i fold the building support will that give me only the heel support, and not where the sole lays, cuz in ur pic. it looks like it goes right out to the sole, but when i fold it. its only the heel. thank you
The template should print on an A4 sheet of printer paper, however, you can really make the shoe as big or small as you like. It's really up to you. I've made it real life size and also made one which was only 2 inches along the sole :)
In regards to the support, I'm thinking that maybe you may have folded the sole part down towards the back instead of towards the front.
18 June 2010
Hi, your cakes are great and the tips are so useful, thanks so much. Could you post your ganache recipe and method of making? Do you whisk it up so its fluffy or keep it as a liquid? In the past I've used buttercream but ganaching seems to leave such a crisper finish for the edges that I want to try it that way. Help please
The ganache is not whipped. For dark chocolate ganache use Callebaut Dark Callets. I use 600mls of cream to 900gms of chocolate. For milk chocolate, I use 600mls of cream to 1200gms of chocolate, and for white, 600mls of cream to 1800gms of chocolate. You need to make the ganache and allow it to cool, so it gets to a spreadable consistency. The brand of chocolate you use will make a difference to the consistency you get, so you will have to play around with the amounts. These amounts work for me when using Callebaut chocolate.
16 November 2009
Hi! Was wondering if you might would know how to go about making a shoe out of buttercream icing, instead of gumpaste or fondant. Thinking it might be easier to do it with gumpaste/fondant, but I'm trying to make one for a little girl, and not sure all the kids would enjoy it as much as they would if it is made with icing. LOL! Thanks in advance!
Oh, also you are reallly talented! Hope to be this good one day myself.
I think that the only way you could do such a thing, would be to make a big cake shaped like a shoe and then cover it in buttercream. Most of the time however, these shoes won't be eaten and the receiver of the cake puts the shoe away as a keepsake. You could also just make a buttercream cake with the shoe on top. You'd be surprised at the things kids will enjoy. I had kid's eat sugar flowers off a cake once, and they're not very tasty!!